Apologies for being a day late. There are so many things going on in my life right now that I am lucky to be posting at all. Being a homeschool Mom, this time of year is pretty stressful. There is a lot to think about and plan. Speaking of stress...
One thing that happens when we are stressed is we start to take shallow breaths. This becomes a pattern. Do you notice it? I mean as you are reading this, can you feel that when you breathe in, you are only filling the top portion of your lungs? Can you see your chest moving at all when you are breathing? That's not how our lungs are made to work.
Your lungs are like big balloons, but there are different sections (lobes) in each lung. So it is like having smaller balloons inside of a larger balloon. Inside of each of the lobes, there are even small balloons (lobules) and then the alveoli - which take the oxygen to the veins that carry it to your heart to be pumped to the body.
It is true that we don't really have to think about breathing - this is something that our body does on its own. However, we all may need to train our bodies to take deeper breaths. Think about it. If you never use the lower lobes of your lungs, what will happen to them? What happens to your legs if you are on bed rest for a year? Atrophy. The muscles break down. If we do not use the entire system that is in place for our lungs, it could atrophy or fail to work at full potential. What is the impact of this? Well, the main functionality of the lungs is to bring oxygen in for the body to use. What does oxygen do for our bodies?
Oxygen feeds our cells. It is used to burn the food we eat in order to create energy for our bodies (aka metabolism). All of our cells need oxygen in order to stay alive. Now let's look at a couple of key areas that might help you realize why taking in more oxygen is so beneficial:
BRAIN. You know, your think tank. Yes, your brain needs oxygen in order to function. So if we are shallow breathers, we are sending limited amounts of oxygen to our brain, therefore, limiting its ability to function. This also applies to stress. Sometimes we are so stressed out because our brains need to be more "organized." We need to form mental lists. We need to mentally prioritize. Are you one of those people who walks into a room to get something, only to forget what it was you were after? Hmmmm - take 10 deep breaths and think, think, think.
SKIN. Does your skin ever feel dry, scaly, flaky, wrinkled, aged? Maybe it needs some oxygen? Oxygen is a key element in cell reproduction. Breathe deeply, slough off that old skin and start making new skin cells.
So what to do about this? I recommend taking 10-20 super deep breaths twice a day (I mean inhale as much as you can, and then exhale it all the way out. Completely fill and empty the lungs). I like to do this when I am in the shower. I get the added benefit of that moist air. If you can, get your arms working as well. Open them up and as you are reaching for the sky, breathe in. Then when you take your arms back to your sides, breathe out.
As you are thinking about breathing, and how vital oxygen is to your body - meditate on how God created man and then breathed life into him. And then worship our great God for the gift of life.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7